INDIANAPOLIS – Through the draft, free agency or trade, Seattle Sea-hawks general manager John Schneider understands he has some options available to improve the talent level at quarterback.
Or he could just stand pat, bringing back starter Tarvaris Jackson and backups Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis for another season, in the hope that all three continue to show improvement.
Schneider discussed all of those choices while talking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday, along with the ongoing contract talks with Seattle’s soon-to-be free agents such as Marshawn Lynch.
Schneider said there’s no deal yet with Lynch, but the two sides are having productive talks and hoping that something gets done in the next two weeks.
And if no deal is made, Lynch will remain with Seattle by the team applying the franchise tag designation.
“We’re having great discussions,” Schneider said. “And I’m actually meeting again with his guy tonight.
“We’ve had great discussions since probably two or three weeks left in the season. So there’s no animosity at all. It’s good dialogue. No fistfights.”
Schneider said the Sea-hawks are in a similar situation with other free agents, such as defensive end Red Bryant, fullback Michael Robinson, tight end John Carlson and linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill.
“Things are going well, you know what I mean?” Schneider said. “There’s no panic. We want Red back. We want Marshawn back. If they decide to go somewhere else, that’s a bummer. But they know how we feel about them. And they know we’ve been busting our tails to get them signed.”
Solving the quarterback issue is a bit more complex. Schneider praised starter Jackson’s performance last season, noting that he toughed it out by playing with a torn pectoral muscle for most of the season.
“In terms of how he played, I thought he did a great job, especially with that offensive line,” Schneider said about Jackson. “And it kind of came to fruition the way we thought it would in terms of the offseason and having (offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell there.
“(Jackson) came in. He knew the offense and could step right into the huddle the first day. And quite frankly he’s such a tough guy, such a strong guy. He could hang in there and take those shots. And he did it.”
Now, Schneider said, his focus is adding a player to compete with Jackson for the starting job in 2012.
Many league observers pencil in Green Bay reserve quarterback Matt Flynn as a possibility for Seattle. Schneider knows Flynn well from his time with the Packers.
However, Green Bay signing tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year, $15 million deal Wednesday could open up the possibility of the Packers assigning Flynn the franchise tag designation with the idea of trading him, similar to what New England executed with quarterback Matt Cassel three years ago.
Under that scenario, the Patriots received a second-round pick (34th overall) from Kansas City. The franchise tender for quarterbacks is $14.4 million for one year.
Schneider seemed less than enthused about the possibility of giving up draft picks in a trade and paying a high-dollar contract to a quarterback who might not be a sure thing, similar to what Arizona did with Kevin Kolb last season.
“You better be really sure that he’s the guy,” Schneider said. “Otherwise it’s like a double whammy. It’s the draft choices, and it’s cash.”
A more likely scenario for the Seahawks is drafting a signal-caller to develop as the franchise quarterback of the future.
And Schneider is intrigued about the possibilities in this year’s draft.
“I think it’s a unique draft class, from (Arizona State’s) Brock Osweiler all the way down to (Wisconsin’s) Russell Wilson,” Schneider said. “You’ve got a 6-8 guy and a 5-101/2 guy. You’ve got (Boise State’s) Kellen Moore, who’s just a phenomenal field general.
“You’ve got (Texas A&M’s Ryan) Tannehill. It’s a unique class. There aren’t standard molds for each guy. Every guy has this different niche to him – Kirk Cousins, and like I said Tannehill, and RG3 (Baylor’s Robert Griffin III) – I think it’s a pretty cool class.”
SURGERY FOR RICE
Schneider confirmed an earlier report that receiver Sidney Rice had surgery on both shoulders to repair torn labrums.
Rice was placed on the season-ending injured reserve in November, missing the final five games of the season after suffering head, ankle and shoulder injuries.
Schneider said that Rice had dealt with a shoulder injury since his college playing days at South Carolina.
“He’ll be rehabbing the whole offseason,” Schneider said. “But from a timetable standpoint I think if we can get him up and running for camp, that’s the most important thing for him.
“This is finally the first time where he’ll be going into camp healthy.”
Schneider said that offensive tackle James Carpenter is off his crutches after ACL knee surgery in December, but is uncertain if he’ll be ready for training camp at the end of July.
Schneider said the team was concerned about losing Carpenter’s replacement last season, Breno Giacomini in free agency. But by signing Giacomini to a two-year deal, that gives Seattle someone to plug in at right tackle, and also allows the Seahawks to move Carpenter to left guard once he’s healthy.
“It’s an option for us, depending on what happens in the draft or free agency,” Schneider said.
Schneider also said that quarterback Jackson managed to avoid having surgery to repair his torn pectoral muscle.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks